Arsonist’s appeal over police office fire fails

| 24/05/2023 | 11 Comments
Cayman News Service
Courthouse in George Town

(CNS): The man who set fire to the police records office and business centre at the Windjammer Plaza on Walkers Road and torched an abandoned car has failed in his attempt to overturn his 2022 conviction. An appeal by Rupert Junior Spence (36), who is serving a six-and-a-half-year prison sentence, was refused, according to newly released court documents.

In February last year, Spence was convicted on two counts of arson and six of driving while disqualified. He was caught on CCTV in August 2020 buying gas from the nearby Rubis service station before driving across to a poorly lit parking lot and setting a car on fire.

Although he was not seen at the police office, he was linked to the scene by DNA. He was also caught on camera apparently celebrating as the fire service came out to extinguish the blaze. The fire caused around $158,389 worth of damage and shut down the office for several months.

The court found little merit in Spence’s appeal. In the written judgment, the justices said there was “powerful evidence implicating” Spence, who had given inconsistent accounts to the police, although he did not give evidence at trial. The appeal court found the grounds of appeal “difficult to discern” but it related to the DNA evidence and possible contamination.

However, the court found that this ground was largely based on an error by the attorney representing Spence, and there was “no question” that any swabs had been cross-contaminated. “In short, there is no basis upon which to grant leave to appeal. We therefore refuse to do so,” the court stated.

Spence, who has mental health challenges, has a long list of around 65 previous convictions going back to 2002, including assault, possession of a firearm and multiple traffic convictions.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (11)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Was t the same guy in trial in 2018 for another arson incident? How come he was on the street to commit this offence in 2020? Conviction s for assault and firearm possession and multiple arson incidents – but will be back on the street in what. 3 years now?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why do our courts repeatedly grant bail to recidivists who have skipped bail on serious gun charges? If being a public danger, untrustworthy flight risk aren’t sufficient grounds in the courts mind to decline, then what is the threshold for refusing bail? Does anyone know?

    • Anonymous says:

      No one knows. Right now we just let them loose to skip bail and do more crimes until finally they do a big time crime and flee the island.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Imagine the money saved if the mental health facility and general level of treatment was up to scratch 15 or 20 years ago.

    Too late now, this guy ain’t changing. He’s just gonna be a drain on resources forever.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is unfortunate because I knew this guy from school days and, if he had the proper mental health treatment which he clearly needed from back then, he might be a positive contributor in society.

    • Anonymous says:

      The mental health facility is not free either, so I question whether there was money to save. Prison is the practical solution. Hard to see why they keep letting hm out. He clearly is incapable of independent living.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Glad the appeal got quashed at the first hurdle for an appeal against what was obviously a good case.

    Sad that the offender is clearly not able to access curative help given his history. (Which would not excuse him from jail time for this incident. But might help avoid the next when he gets out again.) – Sad that he spent money on an appeal based on an error from his own team.

  5. Anonymous says:

    SIXTY-FIVE… 65 previous convictions in only 20 years ?!?!?
    Damn …

  6. Anonymous says:

    What’s to stop this dangerous clown from getting behind the wheel of another automobile, without a license or insurance, and driving like an idiot and possibly hitting other cars or individuals?

    I’d love to hear the RCIPS and DVDL plan to stop people like this from menacing society.


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